Thursday, April 5, 2012

Womens rights Include unconditional abortion rights.

The struggle against sexism and for the full rights of women is central to the struggle of all socialists. No more than the struggle against racism can be left up to the individual socialist the struggle against sexism and for women's full rights cannot be the decision of that of the individual socialist. This does not mean we do not speak to or work with somebody who is not convinced of this as soon as we meet them but what it does mean is that it cannot be left of the table. We have to fight for it to be part of the movement.

The struggle for women's rights has to take place concretely, not in the abstract. It is easy, especially for men to talk about this abstractly.

For my sins i was once a full time organizer for a revolutionary socialist group in Dublin, Ireland. I was debating in the HQ with a young worker who did not agree with a women's right to control her own body. By a coincidence the phone rang just then and it was a young comrade looking for an address in England where she could stay when she went to have an abortion there.

I asked her to hold on a second. Then I put my hand over the phone and without telling the young women Comrade's name I asked the young man would he like to suggest what I say to this young women. Maybe he would like to speak to her and tell her she should not have her child that he was against abortion. He looked at me and then got up and without speaking left the building. When it was posed concretely, in a real life situation, when it was the young women who had to make the decision which could change her life for ever, not when it was a young man who would never have to make that decision for himself it was an entirely different situation.

In Dublin at that time when we were building the organization we would initially get quite a few young male Comrades who opposed the right to abortion. We always debated and opposed this position. I remember once we had a meeting on the issue. There were about 40 people present. I did the introduction. Then a few young men rose to state their opposition. Then a young women rose. She stood straight and strong but obviously tense. "I have had an abortion" she said.and she went on to say why and to defy anybody the right to deny her the right to have had this procedure. I was and am still so proud of that young women's courage. I am forever in her debt. The meeting changed entirely after that . We were then discussing concretely, no longer in the abstract.

I believe that we have to be and have to fight unconditionally for the right of women to control their own bodies and this means the right to decide on if they should have an abortion or not. This has to be the decision of the women.

One of the Republican candidates here opposes abortion because he says he saw a bloody fetus when he was a young doctor. He tries to make his case by painting bloody images. Of course he never raises the many bloody and damaged women he must have seen who were damaged by unhygienic and unqualified abortion practitioners.

He and his fellow anti abortion elements have another tactic. They are trying to terrorize women out of having abortions by trying to make them look at the fetus in their body before they have the procedure. They are also trying to force women to have an invasive vaginal probe and then wait and come back the next day before they can make a decision. There is one other bill being pushed that even if an x-ray shows that the fetus is dead or has a fatal complication the women has to carry the fetus to the end of its term. These are incredible and the most cruel measures and anti women measures. They will inevitably be seen more if the right of women to control their own body is compromised and weakened. Fortunately there is a great movement here now against this war against women and i do not think it will be defeated.

One more point. I believe in the unconditional right to choose. This means the women must have the unconditional right to choose what happens in her body. This means women must have accessibility to free health care and abortion facilities at any time. I believe this must be the decision of women not society.

I also feel that women must have full unconditional right to have a child if she wishes. This means a well paid secure job, maternity care at work and at home, affordable and good housing, that is all that is needed to bring up a child and if necessary on her own, must be available to all women. This is necessary for real choice, that is to have or not have a child.

This is a big battle. Capitalism cannot deliver women their rights. Only a democratic socialist world can do so.


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